Friday Fiction – Behind the Facade

I nearly didn’t get to contribute something for C.E.Ayr’s FF prompt today. Although the boys gave me a hands-free naptime, I had to use it to mow the lawn and then the cat decided to take advantage too. Plus the prompt said a whole lot of factual stuff to me and not a lot of fiction. But eventually Pepsi decided it was time for a wash, so I started typing and this is what came out. My story is under the prompt – feel free to skip the random non-fiction musings that precede it. EDIT: Oooh, I forgot – language warning!

The first thing that sprang to mind from the picture was how much it fits the FF motto (from Henry David Thoreau) “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”. I also wondered whether the mural preceded the dilapidation of the building, and whether it was put there as a sort of graffiti or an official attempt to prettify the neighbourhood. And I wondered why there aren’t more things like this around.

And then I went back to the Thoreau quote and I started thinking how what might be true for writing prompts isn’t necessarily true for everything. Take the Seaworld debate, for example, where what you see is an amazing and fascinating whale show, but what you’re looking at may (or may not, I’m not trying to open a wound here) be torture and animal cruelty.

Which got me thinking about the wider scope of that too. At the weekend we saw a snapping turtle by the banks of the lake where we happened to be walking. Jon and I were probably more excited than Sebastian, because he couldn’t really be expected to understand the novelty of the situation. He’s seen turtles in the zoo, roughly that close, and he’s never been on a lakeshore walk and not seen a turtle, so how could he know this was special. Even I don’t know how special it is – are snapping turtles a fairly standard occurence in Ontario’s cottage country? Or were we extremely lucky to find one? (Here’s what Ontario Nature says about that)

All of which ponderings didn’t lead me to a story. Luckily, the old “start typing and see what comes out” trick did. 😉


Behind the Facade

Isla smudged “mardi gras” across her eyelid and blinked at the mirror. Not a bad job, considering she hadn’t worn makeup in almost two decades. It wasn’t really her colour anymore; she might have felt more comfortable with a subtler shade. But comfort was for cowards and prisoners. Tonight, Isla was wearing a dress that came up too far on the leg, down too far on the cleavage, heels that said she wasn’t walking and mardi-fucking-gras eyeshadow.

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” said her husband’s voice, but she couldn’t hear him. Six feet of earth saw to that.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

27 responses to “Friday Fiction – Behind the Facade

  1. Was her already deceased husband provoking her guilt or what?

  2. Sometimes we just have to ponder what the prompt might give us.. sometimes it hit us directly. Actually my thinking was rather similar, but I stopped at the way to create a facade intentionally…

  3. gahlearner

    However the husband has met his end, Isla sure is better off without hearing his ‘wisdom’–facade or not. I love the line ‘comfort is for cowards’.

  4. Well, that’s a woman with attitude! Whoever meets here tonight better watch out! 😉

  5. Dale

    I’d say she had done enough time already! Put on the mardi gras and live! Amazing how free one feels when liberated!

  6. Dear Jennifer,

    That husband sounds like a nasty person. However he met his end, I’m sure it was deserved. I hope Isla has a good time. ) A good piece of writing.



  7. Tonight, Isla was wearing a dress that came up too far on the leg, down too far on the cleavage, heels that said she wasn’t walking and mardi-fucking-gras eyeshadow. Boy! does this say a lot. The whole piece is very well done.

  8. Built a great story here. I got a sense that Isla wasn’t exactly mournful of her deceased husband, and perhaps contributed in some manner… Nevermind though, he sounds particularly unkind.

    Well done.

  9. Woah! I wonder what her husband would do if he could come up for a few minutes

  10. Great scene. Loved your descriptions and Isla is my kind of gal.

  11. Wonderful story! Her dead husband says it all. LOL! She hasn’t made herself up in 20 years so she must be celebrating his death.

  12. He won’t be saying that chit any more!

  13. You have to start somewhere, and it sounds as though our heroine hasn’t been out on the town in far too long. I’ve no doubt she’ll trade the stilettoes for kitten heels and Mardi Gras for a smoky hue that flatters her better soon enough. Let’s hope Mr. Right doesn’t have to fight too long with the ghost of Mr. Wrong.

    All my best,

  14. MOW THE LAWN?!?!… what are husbands for, Jen?

    Loved your story… as always. Yep 6 feet of earth will do it. Loved the line ‘smudged “mardi gras” across her eyelid’… that told a lot.

  15. Good for Isla – what a pity she had to wait till the old grouch was dead! Your opening remarks chime perfectly with my own thoughts on the picture prompt – I wrote mine into a story.

  16. Hope that experimental army nerve gas doesn’t get loose. Walking Dead Husbands? Nope, wouldn’t get good ratings at all.

  17. This is wonderful. You’ve built Isla’s character and situation so powerfully – the details of the make-up and clothes are masterfully drawn. I wish I could come up with something this good when I ‘just start typing’.

  18. jabberjeans

    Fascinating and amazing inroads to the prompt – and well, whatever works – works – because this is an awesome story! Great imagination!

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